Beefcakes is a burger bar with branches in Illovo and Bedfordview in Johannesburg. You would be wrong if you innocently thought people visit for the burgers. It’s the shirtless men that gives this popular restaurant its name. I have been wanting to visit Beefcakes since it opened but never seemed to be able to rustle up a crowd to go. Finally deciding to go even if by myself, I organized a girls night out. I love that their booking system is online because I am one of those people that absolutely hate speaking on the phone.
You can expect beefy burgers, beefy waiters and a drag show. Each night of the week has a different theme or entertainment line up. Bitchy Bingo, Divine Divas, Throwback Thursday, Dinner Theatre and Party Pack Saturday are the shows from Tuesday to Saturday. I decided on bitchy bingo because it would be a little more than just a drag show.
A pink piano and pretty bar area greets you on arrival. The décor is done in pink and white with plenty of flamingos in the mix as well. I found the wallpaper and unpainted walls gave the restaurant an industrial and clinical look.
I didn’t enjoy the sickly sweet non alcoholic Shirley Temple for R35. The frozen mojito for R49 was also average with an overdose of lime. My friend ordered a 500ml water and was given a 1.5l bottle by another waiter who opened it and left before we could object.
There are four starter options of either nachos, jalapeño poppers, onion rings and crumbed mozzarella sticks can be ordered seperately or as a starter platter for R160. Jalapeno poppers stuffed with cream cheese and sweet chilli sauce served with a lemon mayonnaise for R45 was disappointing. The poppers were extremely hot while the batter was thick and soggy.
I had low expectations about the food because who goes to Beefcakes because of the food right? Boy was I wrong and surprised by my burger. I had the F.A.B chicken burger with avocado, feta, pineapple (swopped out with bacon) with a chive and peppadew relish and warm mustard sauce for R95. This burger was seriously delicious and much better than the other burger places around. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the flavours worked well. I also love the chips here which are really good.
The Beefcakes Burger for R79 is a plain, simple beef burger with a tomato slice and onion ring. It looked a little dry and unappetizing to me. You can also build your own burger by adding toppings to this basic burger. This works out to be quite expensive as each additional topping is R15. A better choice is ordering of the menu and adding or substituting toppings.
There vegetarian burger patty is made with lentils, sweetcorn, bell peppers and walnuts topped with a tangy peppadew mayo for R79. The burgers are available in beef, chicken, ostrich or vegetarian. If you don’t like burgers there are only two other options available to you, a salad or quesadilla.
The show started at 8:40 and was done by 9:30. I enjoyed the bingo and the singing which was superb. None of us were drunk so we didn’t want to score Bingo and get on stage. It was really quiet on the Tuesday night we visited which resulted in a flat ambience. I would recommend rather going on a Thursday onwards.
Let’s talk about the guys, one of the main reasons people visit Beefcakes. The guy who helped with Bingo looked so young and awkward it made us feel uncomfortable. Even the rest of the waiters looked like they didn’t want to be there. Look I get that it can be quite demeaning and a mind trip to make money from selling your body. But no one wants to perve over unhappy guys who make the evening a downer.
Service was just okay from our grumpy, tired and old waiter. We didn’t get asked if we wanted more drinks and there was the incorrect size water served. Something to bear in mind is that the R80 cover charge is added to your bill which is a little unfair to pay a tip on as well. A tip should be on food and drinks and should not include the cover charge.
It’s a great place to go out with the girls for a laugh. The cover charge does make it a little pricey for some but it does offer a different evening out to the dinner only alternative.
Burgers & Boys,